Even at 41, Rodney ready to pitch four straight days
MINNEAPOLIS—Even after working three straight days for the first time this season, Minnesota Twins closer Fernando Rodney offered his services for the series finale Sunday, July 8.
"It wasn't more than 10 minutes (after Saturday's game) when he asked about being ready (Sunday)," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "It's a little different in today's game, but I give him credit. He's one of our most resilient arms. You want to be smart at the same time."
The Twins built a 10-0 lead over the Orioles after six innings en route to a 10-1 victory, and Rodney's services were not required.
Rodney, 41, is at 319 career saves and closing in on Francisco Cordero's record of 330 by a Dominican-born reliever. With 28 games finished, he needs seven more to trigger the first of five $300,000 bonuses that would stack atop his $4.25 million base salary this season.
Rodney also is reportedly among the potential reliever acquisitions the Boston Red Sox are monitoring closely. The well-traveled Rodney, who said he grew up a big fan of Roger Clemens, has never pitched for the Red Sox.
Molitor loosely recalled iron-man closer Duane Ward, his Toronto Blue Jays teammate in the mid-1990s, saving games on nine straight days. Ward, who had 45 saves in 1993 at age 29, had stretches that year in which he worked six of seven days and five of six.
Ward then got hurt and made four total big-league appearances the rest of his career.
"The point being that we used to lean on guys and not worry so much about the consecutive days," Molitor said. "I think we're a little more protective now."
Rookie center fielder Jake Cave continues to impress in the field, robbing Orioles hitters of extra bases throughout the series.
"Positioning, in tune pitch to pitch, good breaks, routes—all those things we think he can do well," Molitor said. "I think the high-end plays have been, I won't say a pleasant surprise, but I think it just goes with the fact he knows how to play the outfield and he's putting himself in good spots."
—Infielder Ehire Adrianza (hamstring) has resumed defensive drills and hitting in the cage and could be activated off the 10-day disabled list as soon as Thursday.
—Triple-A Rochester outfielder LaMonte Wade Jr. and Class A Cedar Rapids right-hander Bailey Ober were named the Twins' minor-league player and pitcher of the week, respectively. Wade hit .391 with two home runs in 23 at-bats, while Ober had 12 strikeouts and no walks in a seven-inning start.
—Right-hander Fernando Romero worked seven strong innings on Sunday to close out the first half for the Red Wings. In three starts since his demotion, Romero is 3-0 with a 1.45 ERA and 13 hits allowed in 18 2/3 innings.
—Joe Mauer, who had made six straight starts and eight of nine, was left out of Sunday's lineup entering the final week before the All-Star break.
—How close of an eye are the Twins keeping on Miguel Sano down at Class A Fort Myers? "We videotape pretty much everything he's doing," Molitor said.